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Online_Lecture_Screenwriting_1_Week_6 - UCLA Extension...

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UCLA Extension - Screenwriting 1 L. Saber 1 SCENE STRUCTURE (Week 6 Lecture) A scene, just like an act and just like a screenplay, has a beginning middle and end. An act is comprised of several scenes and as you know, a typical screenplay consists or three acts. A scene, however, is a basic component of the bigger picture and it tells its own short story within the story. Scenes are not designed or intended to be fillers. If you get to the end of an act or the end of the screenplay and it reads short, that doesn’t mean that the solution would be to throw in a few extra scenes to make up the page count. Each scene should have a purpose. It should drive the story forward and within the scene something must be communicated or revealed to the audience either about the characters, a story point or a set up to be paid off later, but there must be something important in the scene that contributes to the story. When constructing a scene try to COME IN LATE and LEAVE EARLY. What does that mean exactly? Let’s say that the scene is about a young, single mom struggling to pay bills, had just been laid off, is looking for a job and can’t find one. It’s early morning; she had just woken up and is faced with her dilemma. What a very detailed writer might do is -- open with the clock ticking – meaning that -- -- it’s early morning, the alarm may even sound off, the young mom wakes up, she stretches, looks at the clock and yes indeed it’s early. Then finally she gets up and walks to the bathroom to clean up. She brushes her teeth, looks in the mirror and oh boy, her hair’s a mess, she needs makeup. She hears the kids in the room next door. They’re loud, but now she needs to splash some water on her face,
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UCLA Extension - Screenwriting 1 L. Saber 2 then she puts a robe on and walks to the kitchen, her kids follow her screaming, etc, etc, etc. Please read the description above once again and try to understand what it means. Try to figure out where in that description do we get the feeling that this young mother is poor, got laid off and is looking for a job. How does the description above contribute to the story other than putting a lot of words on the page? Remember what I said – that is what a detailed writer might write. I didn’t say that is what a good writer might write.
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